Healthcare technology is such a perfect example of the strength of UK research and innovation on the world stage because companies like Scottish start-up Manus Neurodynamica are developing real solutions to conditions that - despite the advance of modern medicine - still require digital solutions to further improve the standards of care. The company recently secured a loan from UMi Debt Finance Scotland, funded through the Scottish Growth Scheme, along with a new equity investment, to launch the patented Neuromotor Pen to improve patience experience while supporting clinicians with relevant information for decision making and reducing healthcare costs.
For all the medical advances to have been developed by the healthcare profession and medical device industry in previous decades, diagnosis of neurological impairments still depends on clinical assessment.
Whether it be Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis or anything in between, the tools available to doctors to diagnose and monitor neurological disorders is comparably limited.
When it comes to neuromotor impairments, movement and mobility issues, GPs must refer patients to specialist consultants at vast expense to the National Health Service.
Around half of all patients who get referred end up being diagnosed with a benign movement abnormality that does not require specialist care. So, if clinicians had better tools at their disposal, they could save patients and practitioners a lot of time and money.
Scottish healthcare technology start-up Manus Neurodynamica is one company that is meeting this challenge head on, with its revolutionary Neuromotor Pen set to equip doctors with the information they need to make a diagnosis.
Rutger Zietsma, CEO of Manus Neurodynamica, says: “The Neuromotor Pen is aiding the GPs to assess whether a patient has a benign tremor or a Parkinsonian tremor that needs to be seen by a specialist.”
A patented medical device with a wide range of clinical applications, Manus Neurodynamica’s Neuromotor Pen is the product of a 10-year collaboration between clinicians, researchers and developers across Europe.
Rutger explains: “It works by analysing minute movement and fine motor skill to quantify symptoms with an accuracy beyond what can be achieved with the naked eye. Artificial intelligence is then applied to non-invasively help the clinician differentiate between impairments.
“Beyond Parkinson’s, there are a wide range of clinical applications for this product. The opportunities are enormous.”
Recognising the need to establish their ground-breaking technology in the healthcare industry as quickly as possible, Rutger and the team connected with UMi Debt Finance Scotland and secured a loan to serve as gap funding between investment rounds.
“We’ve received a total of £6.5m in funding, including local grants, a large European grant and equity investment,” says Rutger.
He continues: “The UMi loan enabled us to keep everything moving at pace before the new investment came in.”
In addition to making the lives of GPs and patients easier, one of the biggest upsides of earlier diagnosis is prolonging longevity with treatment and lifestyle adjustments.
Rutger adds: “The earlier you can diagnose people, the best chance you give them to access treatments and prepare for the future and stay well. Some patients experience a step change increase in wellbeing as soon as they are diagnosed and prescribed medication.
“Moreover, from a health economics perspective, costs of care for people with Parkinson’s disease, can be reduced and an optimum treatment can delay irreversible health deterioration and delay the point at which healthcare costs increase in a hockey stick curve fashion.
The current focus for Rutger and the team is on rolling out the product for screening and diagnostic use, supported by strategic activities to validate the product benefits and raising awareness about this disruptive medical device.
Looking ahead to the future, the pen will also be applied in monitoring post-diagnosis as well as supporting the diagnosis of other impairments.
Rutger says: “There is no other technology on the market that can measure motor symptoms with the same accuracy and that can make that link with the brain to support differential diagnostic decision-making.
“The portability and user-friendly nature means that testing for neurological diseases such as tremor, Parkinson’s and dementia can for the first time be delivered in low-cost channels such as drugstore pharmacies.
“We are very excited to launch this in Europe, where the device can provide reassurance to many people who are concerned about the nature of their tremor and make sure that those who do have a serious movement disorder, can be triaged to the right specialist for diagnosis and treatment’
Tom Brock, Fund Director at UMi Debt Finance Scotland, says: “We are delighted to assist Manus Neurodynamica and the team on the next stage of their growth journey. The company’s Neuromotor Pen represents a significant innovation in its field and is exactly the type of company we are keen to support through the Scottish Growth Scheme.”